SBJ/July 11 - 17, 2005/Facilities

Two designer firms turn their attention to NBA fix-it-uppers

Sports facility designers Brisbin Brook Beynon and Ellerbe Becket are focusing on NBA and NHL arenas that are 10 years old or more and in need of improvements, according to officials with those two firms.

BBB’s sports practice division, Stadium Consultants International, has already tapped into that niche with projects at Madison Square Garden in New York, Nassau Coliseum on Long Island and the Rose Garden in Portland.

SCI also is the designer of choice for Orlando should local officials figure out a way to pay for renovating TD Waterhouse Centre, home of the NBA Magic.

The Rose Garden and TD Waterhouse Centre projects aren’t as extensive and costly as MSG and Nassau, but the concept is the same regardless of the price tag: Sports designers are trying to create business for themselves as they pick up the scraps from HOK Sport’s stranglehold on the new construction front.

Stadium Consultants International has designed new club areas for Portland’s Rose Garden.
Global Spectrum recently hired SCI to plan a makeover of the Ellerbe Becket-designed Rose Garden, which hasn’t been kept up to modern standards since it opened as a state-of-the-art venue in 1995, according to testimony in the arena’s bankruptcy court case.

The first projects include new finishes for the Rose Garden’s 70 suites, building a 5,500-square-foot courtside club that’s twice the size of the current event-level accommodations for premium patrons and constructing all-inclusive clubs on the east and west sides of the arena.

Those initial improvements will cost about $8 million and should be completed by Nov. 1, the start of the NBA regular season, said Chris O’Reilly, an SCI designer involved with the project.

Ellerbe Becket has designed more than 15 NBA arenas and is forming a task force of designers and other consultants to meet with team owners in a “workshop” setting to present new ideas for upgrading their venues, said Stuart Smith, Ellerbe’s director of business development.The architect also could contact buildings designed by its competitors, Smith said.

The plan is similar to a program, Well Ahead, used by Ellerbe’s health-care division that targets small hospitals in the Midwest, he said.

SEEN IN ATLANTA: Philips Arena President Bob Williams said his facility is not reconsidering subcontracting in-house concessions despite the presence of representatives from Sportservice and Aramark June 30 at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center. The hotel connects to the arena through a food court.

Mike Tully, Sportservice’s Chicago-based vice president of business development, and Dennis LaMalfa, Aramark’s West Coast regional vice president, were seen at the Omni on the last day of the Association of Luxury Suite Directors conference, booked at the same hotel, but weren’t among the 640 people registered for the meetings.

Asked in Atlanta, Tully declined to say why he was in town. A conference participant said LaMalfa wasn’t talking, either.

Philips Arena has managed the regular concessions since the building opened in 1999. Atlanta Spirit LLC, the new owner of the NBA Hawks and NHL Thrashers, interviewed five concessionaires about six months ago as part of an operations audit before deciding to keep the food service in-house, Williams said.

Levy Restaurants and locally based Buckhead Life Group share the facility’s premium dining contract.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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